FUNDRAISING EVENTS It’s difficult to start-up an enterprise society and a major stumbling block is generating the capital to begin putting your ideas into action. By engaging in self-generated funding you demonstrate commitment to the society and gain great practice as student entrepreneurs. Students with limited experience can be perceived as risky investments, so the first piece of advice is to start small As a growing society you may feel like you lack the time, experience, confidence and reputation required to deliver activities on a large-scale. The golden rule for any project when you’re just starting out is to keep things small. By keeping your activities small your successes mount and your confidence will develop too. Please remember you don’t need a budget to pull off an awesome event. There are endless innovative ways to generate money from nothing but it’s up to you to spot them. It’s important to make provisions for next year’s committee as societies need to ensure their sustainability. A crucial aspect of such planning is securing the society’s financial sustainability. You can achieve this by re-investing profits from any society business ventures, sponsorship and ad-hoc fundraising events. Ideally your fundraising efforts will enable the society to improve its service provision. For example, ‘FishPrint’ is a printing company run by Southampton’s Fish on Toast enterprise society, generates funds by providing printing services to local companies and other societies. QUICK TIPS FOR RUNNING A FUND RAISING EVENT Make it fun: get everyone involved, do something unique and exciting. Try adding a competitive element with prizes or offer a society reward for everyone who gets involved. If you are stuck for fundraising activities try crowd-sourcing ideas, which can be a great opportunity to develop intra-society relationships. Get support: ask your university or student union to support your activities. They may be able to provide you with free resources, space, fundraising equipment and promotional support. Approach your local business and enterprise network, brief them on your objective and rationale, then ask if they would like to get involved. They may be willing to contribute to your efforts with financial donations or in-kind support. Keep it simple: Simple events make the best fundraisers because they are far easier to run. This ensures a focus on fundraising rather that logistics. Fundraising events shouldn’t detract attention from the society’s offering or events calendar. Keep costs low: high expenditure is likely to undermine your fundraising efforts so turn to your network, local business community and generally ask around for support. You might manage bag some free goodies and resources! Be resourceful and see what you can make yourself rather than buying in. For example, many unions now offer food preparation and handling qualifications. Rather than buying in retail priced foods, invest in a food-handling certificate and make your own tasty treats to sell. In essence, treat each expense as a strategic investment. When running any event there are always opportunities for ‘value add’ by maximising fundraising, networking, recruitment and sponsorships opportunities. • If you are running a series of fundraising events, use it as an opportunity to promote all your activities in this area. Encourage ideas from students passing by as they are the ones who will essentially help you raise your funds. • By encouraging interested students to volunteer at fundraising events, you will reduce the time spent by the committee on events and volunteers can build their CV. Maximizing volunteers could ultimately allow you to attempt more ambitious fundraising events. IDEAS BOX Stall fundraisers: Traditional, reliable and a great way to make money for your society. Showcase your society’s entrepreneurs by selling their products on campus, through a pop-up shop or a simple stall. Bake Sale’s are an old fashioned but easy way of raising small bursts of cash for society needs. Social events: The cornerstone of student life and as such they are fantastic for generating revenue. Students will pay for an exciting and well-organised social event. Try hosting a specific, regular event that is supported by a local bar or venue. Propose a mutually beneficial partnership that will see your society rewarded for bringing in customers. Fashion/Talent show: a great way of getting more creative students involved in your activities. Sponsored run/swim: a popular method for raising funds, a portion of the money raised could even be given to a local charity or generated for the society, to add even more of a fun element a theme or costumes could be introduced to the event. Raffle/Auction: prizes could include an hour picking the brains of a local businessman, or free services from a logo design company. This type of event would also appeal to college/university/local start-ups and entrepreneurs in need of help for their new businesses. Networking event: Invite local businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs to a networking event at your college. You can charge for entry and perhaps run your raffle/auction on the night! ALTERNATIVE FUNDRAISING TIPS All of these ideas are free to set up which is crucial to a new society trying to establish a relationship. If you can demonstrate that you have been able to make even small amounts from nothing, it will generate interest from others who may be able to make more things happen. Additionally, the small income streams that you set up can be continued and will ensure that you have funds to start on bigger and better things. Speed Dating: Many bars around colleges compete for customers on a daily basis and they’re always open to ideas that draw in new crowds. Typically bar owners will allow you use of their premises for a couple of hours if you can guarantee revenue from drinks sales. Speed Dating is a great way of doing this. A tried and tested formula is 20 guys and 20 girls at €5 a head, with 3-minute dates where the guys move around. Plan a series of breaks between dates, allowing the bar to sell drinks and giving your guests time to relax. Try playing with the structure of this event and introduce a unique twist! Tutoring: Students at university frequently look for extra help with their studies. If you have time, tutoring can be a good little earner and a highly rewarding experience. You will have developed a unique skill set through your studies that can benefit lower level students. Tutors can earn around €10 per hour, which increases significantly when you open up classes to more people, but remember you must be able to maintain quality tuition. Find out what your committee specialise in and post your services on your society website. Shopping Orders: Buying groceries can easily become the last thing on student’s minds. While there are lots of websites offering personal shopper services today there is still some hesitation to adopt it, mainly due to the quality of produce upon arrival. Set your restrictions, create a free website listing the service, then hand out your phone number and go knocking on peoples doors. If you develop a good reputation you could be making a percentage mark up for some exercise! eBay: The site that sells countless products many of which can be surprising. Use your location’s assets, list products exclusive to the area and carve out a niche market. There are millions of potential buyers from across the globe that will want that little item from home. Do your market research, identify the products and list them. Once you have an order, purchase them in store and post it to your customer. Please ensure that you’re selling items you can source and account for all additional costs in the price e.g. postage. Social Media Consultancy: Lots of small to medium size enterprises are owned and run by middleage people who aren’t very tech-savvy. The new social media scene is sometimes challenging for them; providing your society with a great opportunity for all technology experts to cash in. Do your research, get in contact with such businesses and pitch solutions to their technology problems. You could offer them Facebook Pages/Groups, Twitter accounts, Google listings and basic websites at a reasonable cost. The majority know that the Internet means business and will be happy to outsource their pain.